Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts

>> Friday, January 07, 2005

I don't usually read hardbacks. I tend to wait until they're published in paperback, and I seldom make exceptions. I made one for Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts, though I managed to save on the shipping to Uruguay because I had it sent to the house of a friend of a friend who was coming to Uruguay in mid-December. Desperate, me? ;-)

So anyway, I had this book in my TBR for two weeks and all the while I was dying to read it, could barely resist it, but I didn't want to start it until I had turned in my economics paper. Northern Lights was to be my prize for finishing that, and I finally was able to start it bright and early Saturday morning.

Lunacy was Nate Burke's last chance. As a Baltimore cop, he'd watched his partner die on the street-and the guilt still haunts him. With nowhere else to go, he accepts the job as Chief of Police in this tiny, remote Alaskan town. Aside from sorting out a run-in between a couple of motor vehicles and a moose, he finds his first weeks on the job are relatively quiet. But just as he wonders whether this has been all a big mistake, an unexpected kiss on New Year's Eve under the brilliant Northern Lights of the Alaska sky lifts his spirit and convinces him to stay just a little longer.

Meg Galloway, born and raised in Lunacy, is used to being alone. She was a young girl when her father disappeared, and she has learned to be independent, flying her small plane, living on the outskirts of town with just her huskies for company. After her New Year's kiss with the Chief of Police, she allows herself to give in to passion-while remaining determined to keep things as simple as possible. But there's something about Nate's sad eyes that gets under her skin and warms her frozen heart.

And now, things in Lunacy are heating up. Years ago, on one of the majestic mountains shadowing the town, a crime occurred that is unsolved to this day-and Nate suspects that a killer still walks the snowy streets. His investigation will unearth the secrets and suspicions that lurk beneath the placid surface, as well as bring out the big-city survival instincts that made him a cop in the first place. And his discovery will threaten the new life-and the new love-that he has finally found for himself.
After all the anticipation, I was half-afraid Northern Lights was going to turn out to be a bit of a disappointment, but it lived up to its billing and it was an A- for me.

The book is very much Nate's story. The romance is an important part of the story, and it's definitely not underwritten, but the main point of the story is Nate and how he builds a new life in Alaska, how he changes from a broken man, fighting to escape depression, to a man with a life he loves. It works wonderfully, because Nate is a great character. Yes, he is a cop suffering from guilt for the death of his partner, but he's so much more than that stereotype. We spend a lot of time in his mind, and this makes him really come alive.

As I said, the romance was an important part of the book, and it was wonderful. I simply adored Meg. I know other readers didn't like her because she was "mannish" and too abrupt, or because they thought she was loose, but I thought she was a wonderful heroine, myself. I didn't think she was selfish and boorish at all! It's as she says, why is it selfish to want to live the life she likes? And if she doesn't suffer fools gladly... well, good for her! As for her past sex life, I see nothing wrong with a heroine who's been around the block a few times. I mean, her past life would probably have been considered restrained for a romance novel hero! So she enjoys her sexuality... again, good for her! I thought her no-nonsense manner was perfect for Nate, exactly what he was needing at the time.

I enjoyed the cast of secondary characters, all subtly and compassionately written. It was especially interesting, because these weren't the typical small town dwellers in romance novels. They were more colourful... or rather, colourful in a different way than usual, and I liked how they were all very much a community.

Alaska was a character in its own right. The setting is very, very vivid. Of course, I've never been to Alaska (or anywhere where it even snowed, for that matter) or so I wouldn't know how accurate it all was, but if felt right, which was more than enough for me. I loved reading about the tremendously cold winter... it felt cozy, in a way, especially because I was reading the book while sitting by the pool in a temperature of 30ºC! ;-)

The suspense subplot was very engaging, too. While I pretty much zeroed in on the culprit immediatey, Nora planted enough little red herrings that I got to wondering whether it mightn't be someone else.

This is a book I'm probably going to reread and reread in the future, so I'm glad I went through the trouble of getting a hardcover copy!


Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP